Tuesday, January 22, 2013

fighting back ... with love

Join me over the next few weeks for the story of Anna, which isn't a true story, but it might as well be:

At thirteen, Anna loved movies, magazines, and chocolate, though she rarely got any of those.  Her family was so poor that her small home in St. Petersburg rarely saw more than three to four real meals in a week.  Anna often went without breakfast, giving her bread and milk to her feeble grandmother or one of her younger siblings as she headed out the door for work in a local bakery.  She had been attending school, but was forced to make the decision to work and eat instead of learning.  It was a difficult choice, but the meager wages at least gave them enough for some bread, and her brother and two sisters could stay in school that way.  Anna's mother worked at night, and though she never told Anna what she did or where she went, Anna guessed she must have been either selling herself or selling drugs.  She was too afraid to ask and too ashamed to know.  

One morning she saw a sign in the bakery window about a nanny job in America that paid $1000 per month.  Hoping against hope, Anna called the number and agreed to meet the voice on the the other end of the line two days later with her passport and a small bag of clothes.  After a tearful, reassuring good-bye with her mother, siblings, and grandmother, Anna promised to send home all the money she could as soon as possible so her family could move out of the ghetto-like conditions into a better life.

As she boarded the bus with the man, who smiled kindly and examined her papers, Anna noticed four other girls who were a little older than her, all with the same hopeful looks on their faces that must have been on Anna's as well. With the promise of money, adventure, and opportunity filling their thoughts, they settled into their seats quietly.

It wasn't until hours later when they crossed the border of China and still hadn't been given any food that Anna began to worry.  As she asked when they would eat and where they would be boarding an airplane, her escort suddenly turned on all of them.  "Shut up," he yelled.  "When you get to where you're going, I'll tell you what comes next.  Didn't you bring anything to eat?"

Frightened into silence, Anna looked around at the others, who were just as confused and scared.  ...

[join me for part 2 next week ...]

Awareness [think, pray, act]:

  • In the United States, the number of trafficking victims is roughly equivalent to the number of murders each year, according to “The Slave Next Door” by Kevin Bales. And while 90 percent of murder cases are solved, only 1 percent of trafficking cases ever reach prosecution.
  • Did you know that 4 Asian countries depend on the sex industry for 2% to as high as 14% of their economies? UNICEF reports that out of the 2.5 million people trafficked in the world it is estimated that 22 – 50 percent of them are children. Of those trafficked some studies show that most trafficked underage women are used in the sex industry. Much of that activity happens in SE Asia. (sources: International Labor Organization, UNICEF, UNODC – global report on trafficking in persons in 2012)  Read More
  • The human trafficking industry is estimated at $32 billion per year 
In the 1860's, they fought for emancipation. In the 1960's they fought for civil rights.  Today we fight still - for the same things.  This time the people group is not determined by the color of skin, but by the vulnerability of age and gender.  

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. :
“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” 

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 

What ... can ... we... do...?

"Isn’t this the fast I [God] choose:
    releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,
    setting free the mistreated,
    and breaking every yoke?

Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry    and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
    covering the naked when you see them,
    and not hiding from your own family?" -Isaiah 58:6-7 (CEB)

1. We can pray 
2. We can speak up
3. We can give and give and give
4. We can go (or short-term like my Guy and 7 other friends leaving tomorrow for a mission in India - won't you pray with me for their safety, and that the Holy Spirit will move powerfully to rescue these girls for eternity of freedom?)
5. We can become a billboard for change

"He lifted me out of the pit of death,
    out of the mud and filth,
    and set my feet on solid rock.
        He steadied my legs." -Psalm 40:2

Lord, we pray for justice, like only You can bring.  It will take miracles to rescue these slaves and set them free, but You are in the business of doing miracles.  This is why we talk to You about human trafficking.  We plead with You to change our world.  We refuse silence.  We refuse to look the other way.  We choose You and Your plan of freedom.  Use us, Father as Your mouthpiece, Your tender hands, and Your Gospel-shod feet.

Click below to find out how you can get involved too:


  1. Thanks for sharing this story. When eyes are opened, the world is changed.

  2. So, true! Thank you for your fight too, Justin. We can end this if we work together!